Karen Harper | The Rhys Jones Foundation - Rhys Jones Community Centre | Liverpool, UK
Community Organisation (Multi-Strand)
Karen is a single mum of 3 children who after Rhys Jones was murdered in August 2007 was one of the original Trustees of the then Rhys Jones Memorial Fund charity - set up to raise funding to build the Rhys Jones Centre.
Karen as a local resident was very conscious at the time of Rhys tragic death and murder the impact it had on his family and their wider family circle but also on the community around Croxteth Park and wider communities - the impact was devastation and so the fundraising began to set up a centre in Rhys name and have his memory live on.
This is our story:
The Rhys Jones Foundation - Rhys Jones Community Centre - Charity Number 1181110
Previously the centre was managed by - Rhys Jones Memorial Fund set up in memory of Rhys Jones who was tragically killed in 2007 in the Croxteth Park area.
The Charity raised funds to match fund with the Liverpool City Council and the Rhys Jones Community Centre was opened in August 2013.
The Charity is sadly no longer in operation and it was agreed to step down operation in 2016 from directly managing the centre.
But the Centre and its work has been been picked up and re launched by Karen Harper, Local mum and resident along with Sharon Jardine (Local business woman non resident) and Jan Kearney ( Business woman non resident).
These 3 women are now the Centre & Charity Directors and have set up a small Management Board to oversee its work, focus and direction.
In December 2018 the Cic was converted to a Charitable Incorporated Organisation - Charity Number 1181110 and whilst little has changed re set up - Trustees still the same - the Management Board will be developed and The Rhys Jones Foundation will now continue the legacy work of the centre and making sure that Rhys name is never forgotten in the area locally or regionally.
WE have the full backing of Rhys Parents - Stephen and Melanie Jones, who are kept updated on the Centre and Charities work on a regular basis and we so appreciate their backing and support.
We are still raising funds and our mission is to carry on the legacy of working with Children and Families in the local Croxteth Park area, tackling gang violence, working with children and young people on issues that impact on their life chances and employ-ability for the future.
Supporting families in the local community - bringing the community together, supporting community cohesion and a focal point for all.
Our Mission is and our 4 corner stones for all our work:
a. Raising Aspirations - developing leadership, enterprise and employability
b. Inspiring Change - supporting children and young people as well as adults to reach their full potential and be inspired to change their lives.
c. Increasing and raising Community Unity - bringing all parts of the community together leaving legacy events in Rhys name within the local area.
as well as
d. Increasing and improving Health and well being.
We also has 2 Sports / football pitches to the rear of the building,
a Youth Port a Cabin (have had fantastic funding from Local prison service to purchase and erect) but now we need to complete and make it ready for use. This will be our Youth Zone
We already work with many groups already - supporting the local Food Bank, FareShare on a weekly basis that is distributed to those in need in the local area. we also support not just local Disability Groups but also families who have children with additional needs we support on a 121 basis as well as a family , Well being, exercise and dance groups and the list is expanding.
The plans for the future are bright and with a growing number of volunteers and looking to employ staff the centre and the charity will be looking to go from strength to strength.
The charity and centre is currently open 7 days a week with 6 evenings a week in operation - with around 500 centre users coming in across any given week - 291 approx are children and young people with 209 being 18 years and over.
We offer a Holiday programme across all the school holidays, food donation bags for those in need, currently working with 10 - 15 families.
We offer a free Croxteth Healthy Minds Programme and Listening Service - working with children from 10 - 18 years on a 121 basis as well as home visits and support, group work sessions, girls group, after school sessions etc.
This has all been achieved in the last 2 years - in May of 2017 we took over the centre with zero balance in the bank, Karens vision of a Community Hub has driven the charity and centre she fought to have a 25 year lease from the Liverpool city council. We get funding from fundraising, donations and small grants - we have 1 full time worker - Karen Harper and 1 part time worker Faye, 1 sessional worker Treena - everyone else involved are volunteers.
Karen manage the centre, and has done this successfully for over 2 years now - keeping it open and growing the work through hard work and determination.
This is the legacy of Rhys Jones and will never be forgotten.